One day each week, we would like to review a research article on a topic related to our clinical practice. If you would like for us to review an article that you have heard about, please contact us at info at applied behavioral strategies dot com. As long as it is related to ABA, intervention for children with behavioral challenges, feeding intervention, and parent/teacher training, we will be happy to consider your suggestion.
The article that we are reviewing today is called, “Assessment of Feeding Problems in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders”. The article appeared in 2010 the Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities volume 22 (pages 401-413). Laura Seiverling, Keith Williams, & Peter Sturmey authored the article.
Feeding difficulties among children with autism is not a new phenomenon. Kanner reported it in 1943 and many others have subsequently validated his findings. While children with autism may experience a wide range of feeding difficulties, the most commonly reported issue is “food selectivity”. Most people would call it picky eating. However, for children with autism, the issue is much more extreme than merely picky eating. Children with autism may limit their food consumption to just a few foods. We’ve described this in our own clinical practice here and here.
Despite the severity of feeding difficulties among children with autism, professionals have only recently been able to accurately assess feeding difficulties. Thus, the purpose of the paper was to review various assessments of feeding difficulties including recently developed measures. The authors organized the review into categories of assessments. These included Questionnaires, Direct Observations of mealtimes, functional assessment or functional analysis of mealtime behavior, and use of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM).
The authors reviewed a total of 9 different measures or approaches and they concluded with strengths and weaknesses of each. Finally, the authors made recommendations for future directions in assessment.
Have any of you utilized these measures in your practice? Parents, have practitioners used these methods when assessing your child?